Individually we are one drop
but together, we are an ocean
Facelift plan for Sedgefield church clock – and you can help!
Friends of St Edmund's in Sedgefield are planning to put back a smile on the ‘rather sad’ faces of the town’s church tower clock. They aim to have the faded blue paintwork re-painted and the fingers re-gilded with gold leaf
At the same time, they want to give the ageing clock a long-overdue mechanical MOT to correct a technical ‘quirk’ which invariably sees the clock keeping silent on its first chime.
Dr Alistair Irvine, chairman of the Friends, said this week: “There is no doubt that the two faces of the clock have seen better days. At present, they look rather sad and we think that the local community and visitors to the town would appreciate our plan to give them a facelift.”
Work on the Victorian clock is part of a four-project preservation programme announced by the Friends for action ‘as soon as possible’.
Also included are repairs to the roof of the lychgate, which was badly damaged by lead-thieves, the installation of safety barriers on top of the tower to enable the reintroduction of popular rooftop visits (currently suspended on health and safety grounds) and major stonework repairs to various areas of the church.
All four will need ‘faculty’ approval from the Diocese of Durham before any work can begin and that, it is acknowledged, could take around six months.
The Friends, an independent group of volunteers whose primary role is to raise funds to preserve the fabric of the church, admit that the programme will severely deplete their financial reserves.
Repairs to the clock and the refurbishment of the faces will cost an estimated £16,000 – largely because of the high cost of hiring scaffolding or skilled abseil specialists. The lychgate roof and stonework on the church itself will each cost around £3000 to repair and the safety barriers will need a further £1500.
But, says Dr Alistair Irvine, the benefits of the work for both townspeople and the 500 – 600 visitors to St Edmund’s each year, will far outweigh the expense – “though it will severely deplete our funds”.
He adds: “Like many organisations, we have been unable to arrange fund-raising events this year because of the coronavirus and our reserves are not as healthy as they once were.
“However, despite the challenges facing us, the Friends are very conscious of the fact that their primary remit is to conserve the fabric of the church to ensure it is in good order for generations to come.”
As a result, the Friends are now inviting donations of any size from well-wishers to help with the work.
They can be forwarded to Friends’ membership secretary Brian Mutch at 6 Hasledon Grove, Sedgefield, TS21 2JW, tel 01740 622302, website – www.friendsofstedmunds.org
Long-serving wardens make local church history
Photo above from left to right. Revd Geoffrey Short, John Burton, Brian Mutch and Michael King.
Two men with long and distinguished records of service to churches in the Sedgefield area have made local church history by being honoured with the title of ‘Churchwarden Emeritus’.
Sunday’s service saw a special presentation to Reader Michael King to mark his hard work and leadership as Lay Chair of both the District Church Council and the Parish Church Council during the years that the Upper Skerne had no Team Rector or Vicar.
Research historian appeals for help
Friends of St Edmund's Church in Sedgefield are being asked to turn detective and help with research into the nephew of a Scot who took part in the 1745 Jacobite rising, was captured at Culloden, imprisoned in London and sentenced to death for treason - but was reprieved at the very last moment.
Researcher Norman Abbot was at St Edmund’s this week looking for any references to William Farquharson who studied in the Durham area and boarded with Dr William Wrightson, surgeon, of Sedgefield, around 1772-4.
William, the nephew of Jacobite supporter Francis Farquharson of Monaltrie, was being tutored at the time by the Revd. William Longstaffe, Vicar of Kelloe, who may also have lived in Sedgefield.
Mr Abbot has undertaken extensive research into the Farquharsons, an important family on Upper Deeside in Aberdeenshire who were based near Braemar.
“I’d love to know if anyone could identify Wrightson’s or Longstaffe’s place of residence in the Sedgefield area,” said Mr Abbot this week.
He’s equally interested in discovering the house on the north side of Old Elvet in Durham where Francis Farquharson lived with his wife, Elizabeth Eyre (who is commemorated in a fine monument in St Oswald’s Church, Durham), from c1766 to 1786.
Some years ago, Mr Abbot did a leaflet drop in Durham to try and identify the house – but without success.
Anyone with information about the Farquharsons, Wrightson or Longstaffe can contact Mr Abbot at email@example.com.
Footnote: Francis’s sentence of death was commuted to internal exile in southern England which lasted for 20 years, but after eventually regaining his freedom of movement and settling with his wife in Durham, he made annual expeditions back to his native part of Scotland. He was responsible, among other things, for building the first bridge over the River Dee at Ballater near Balmoral.
Church support for
Sedgefield Rangers overseas service appeal
Members of Sedgefield’s Saint Edmund’s Church are busy searching their wardrobes, linen cupboards and children’s toy-boxes to help four teenage members of the local Ranger Guide group make ‘once-in-a-lifetime’ voluntary service trips overseas.
The four have been selected for the international projects next summer by Girlguiding North East England but need to raise around£2000 each towards the cost.
Kate Wallace (left) will do voluntary work in Sri Lanka, Jenny Walker (third left) in Bermuda, and Katelyn Craig (second left) and Abbie Walker (right) will take part in an international camp.
The four have already been hard at work fund-raising and are now hoping to raise around £300 by asking church members and supporters to fill bags with unwanted used clothing, shoes, linen, bedding, towels, curtains and soft toys (excluding duvets, pillows and cushions) which will then be sold to the Bag2School charity.
Bags can be returned to Kate’s mum, Susan, at St Edmund’s Church by e-mailing her at firstname.lastname@example.org or calling her on 07753 470350.
Mrs Wallace said this week: “The girls began fundraising late last year. So far they have hosted a coffee morning, held Christmas stalls, played Christmas carols in Sainsbury’s Supermarket, staged a fashion show with Betty’s Boudoir and done sponsored runs and a swim. They really do deserve all the support they can get.”
Footnote: The next fundraising event by the Rangers will be a Ceilidh on April 27 in the Parish Hall. Tickets cost £12.00 and include a pie and pea supper. There will also be a bar. Tickets are available from Jaiz Hairdressers or from Marie Walker at email@example.com
St.Edmund's Church, Cross Hill, Sedgefield, Stockton-On-Tees TS21 3AT
Chairman: Dr Alistair Irvine, Neasless Farm, Sedgefield, Stockton on Tees. TS21 3HE
Secretary: Mrs. Alison Hodgson, 18 Hardwick Road, Sedgefield Co Durham TS21 2AL
Treasurer: Mrs. Lynda Clegg, 16 Hardwick Road, Sedgefield, Co Durham TS21 2AL
Membership Secretary: Mr Brian Mutch, 6 Hasledon Grove, Sedgefield, Co. Durham TS21 2JW